This is a famous English surname, and one well recorded in the USA. It has two possible origins. The first is or rather was, a nickname from the medieval English word 'quaille', a bird noted for its timidity. The surname from this source is first recorded in the early half of the 14th century, whilst John Quaille appears in the Close Rolls of the city of London, in the year 1357. However one must be cautious with the meaning of nicknames, as given the robust and Chaucerian humour of the period, the likely meaning was the complete reverse of that indicated! The second possible origin is that Quayle is the Manx (Isle of Man) form of the Gaelic MacPhail from Scotland or MacPhoil from Ireland, with both names translating as the 'son of Paul'. Curiously the most popular spelling in both countries is as MacFail. In the Dictionary of Manx Surnames, the form MacFayle is recorded in 1511, and as MacQuayle with the reduced spelling of Quayle, both in 1540. Thomas Quayle, an immigrant from the Isle of Man appears in the records of Dublin in 1588, whilst in 1616, Ann Quayle, was christened at Kirk Michael, in the Isle of Man. The first recorded spelling of the family name is that of Simon Quayle. This was dated 1327 in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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